Houston council refines travel policy

Turning lane details emerge

Additional details regarding the transportation and infrastructure ministry’s plans to add a left hand turning lane at the intersection of Hwy16 and McKilligan Road are starting to emerge.

The project won’t be going out to tender but will be completed through the hiring of local equipment operators on the ministry’s day-labour provisions.

And constrution is scheduled to take place early this summer.

Involved is what the ministry calls a decleration lane so that drivers can slow down to a safe speed to make a turn. The project will include a west-bound left-turn lane and an eastbound right-turn lane.

“The project is important for increased safety due to the high percentage of large vehicles turning at the intersection to access the regional landfill. The drivers of these large vehicles need time to slow down in order to safely navigate the turn,” indicates information provided by the ministry.

“Additional lights will be installed for improved visibility at the intersection,” the statement adds.

Outdoor centre gets support letter

The District of Houston council has written a letter supporting the efforts of the Buck Creek Hatchery in making grant applications to expand the facility to act as a nature centre and to support its ongoing operations.

Coordinated by A Rocha Canada, the hatchery opened in 2018 and operates with a strong core of volunteers.

Based on successful applications for both financial support and donations of material and other in-kind measures, A Rocha Canada is anticipating an overall cost of $300,000 in both financial and in-kind support.

Construction of the nature centre has been tentatively set to start June 2020.

The District’s grant writer is assisting A Rocha Canada in preparing applications.

Council sets travel expense policy

The District of Houston council has refined its travel expense policy to include a mileage rate for private vehicle travel if a District vehicle is not available and airfare is not an economically viable option.

At the same time, council has decided to eliminate a provision to cover expenses of programs for partners or spouses when they accompany councillors on official business. Social or other programs are often set up in parallel to official functions.

“The partner’s program was removed as a claimable expense because it is a taxable benefit, and council has decided that partners programs can be paid for by the attendees,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

The District, as have other governments, changed expense policies because as of this year, all forms of council remuneration are now taxable. Previously, one-third of a council member’s remuneration was tax exempt.

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